Archives for June 2015

Blog Tour: On the Edge by T.S. Krupa (Chrissy’s review, giveaway)

TS Krupa OTE Blog Tour

On the EdgeOn the Edge
written by T.S. Krupa
published by T.S. Krupa, LLC

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did enjoy this read. Every page of it. On the Edge is a great story. I smiled. I cringed. I was nervous. I was excited. I was everything. I connected with the characters and the situations.

There is something about this type of romance that really sucks me in. I love these stories of parent and child, working together to reach a goal, and learning to navigate the world together. I don’t know. These stories—especially those surrounding winter sports (skating, snow boarding, skiing, hockey)—just call to me. I love them. They make me smile. They make me giddy. They just hit the spot. And On the Edge hit the spot for me. I loved it. I didn’t want to put it down. I didn’t want it to end. In fact, I want more. (I’m really hoping there is another story about Hayden Grace. And Andy. And P.W.)

Andy and Hayden Grace have a good relationship. It is clearly mother-daughter, but Andy consults with her daughter regarding major family decisions. I love the backcountry tour and where that leads. (And, yes, I’m being cryptic. This is an important event. I am not going to spoil anything.) Hayden Grace also goes through her own growing pains as she navigates the competition world, the teen world, and her own changing world. It felt real, not “fictional.” And the love interest was perfect. He suited Andy, and Hayden Grace, well. He’s swoon-worthy, that’s for sure.

On the Edge was a great read that I will revisit again.

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Would I recommend it: Absolutely. And as I said above, I’m really hoping there is more from the Parker girls and P.W.

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About the book: 
Andy Parker is a war widow raising her fifteen-year-old daughter on her own. Hayden Grace dreams of becoming a professional snowboarder, and Andy is doing everything she can to make that happen. When Hayden Grace’s passion begins to falter, Andy is at a loss for how to re-inspire her daughter.

Andy does her best balancing Hayden Grace’s competition schedule, practice, and school with her own work schedule at home, in the city, and on the mountain. But work starts to demand more from Andy. Then, Andy receives an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity that will turn their lives upside down. But is it too good to be true?

Soon, mother and daughter find themselves in Aspen for Hayden Grace’s first national competition when a chance encounter brings Andy into a passionate, unexpected romance, a romance that could change everything. Will Andy be able to find the happiness she deserves?

 

 

TS KrupaAbout the author: T.S. Krupa was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Raised in a Polish household with a blended American culture, she is fluent in Polish. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Franklin Pierce University,where she also played field hockey. She earned her Master’s from Texas Tech University and recently graduated with her Doctor of Education from North Carolina State University. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and her dog.

In 2014, T.S. Krupa published her award-winning debut novel Safe & Sound. On The Edge is her second novel.

Find Ms. Krupa here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Melissa’s Review: Out of Exodia by Debra Chapoton

Out of Exodia (Exodia Ledgers, #2)

Out of Exodia
written by Debra Chapoton
Expected Publication: June 25, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I loved Exodia, the first book of this pair (you can read my review HERE), but I’m sorry to say Out of Exodia doesn’t live up to its predecessor. Exodia has the perfect blend of sci-fi and the biblical story of Moses, but Out of Exodia stretches things just a bit too far: the anagrams are a bit too contrived, the “loosely based on” Moses part is a bit more than loose, and for some reason the coolest part—the idea that the entity leading Dalton & his followers is a mortal with epic technology instead of a god—fizzles. What a bummer.

Also, I’m pretty sure it’s bad form to use the same title for a chapter that you’ve already used for one of your books.

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Would I recommend it: Go ahead and read the first one, but I’d give this one a pass.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this sequel to EXODIA, Dalton Battista takes on his prophesied identity as Bram O’Shea. When this psychic teen leads a city of 21st century American survivalists out from under an oppressive regime, he puts the escape plan at risk by trusting the mysterious god-like David Ronel. With Ronel’s ulterior motives under suspicion, Bram’s loyalties questioned, and a mutiny imminent, this large group of outcasts faces multiple problems. What should have been a two-week journey lasts for months as they engage in battles against new enemies. Bram’s unusual abilities and a special weapon supplied by Ronel help them overcome obstacles but can they reach the “Promised Land” before time runs out?

Based loosely on the ancient story of Moses, this two book dystopian journey (EXODIA and OUT OF EXODIA) crosses genres, combining young adult, new adult, sci-fi, magical realism, and speculative fiction for an adventure full of symbolism, hidden codes, and thematic imagery.

 

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Melissa’s Review: Exodia by Debra Chapoton

Exodia (Exodia Ledgers, #1)Exodia
written by Debra Chapoton
Expected Publication: June 25, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I loved it. I’ve read Ms. Chapoton’s work before (you can read my review of A Soul’s Kiss HERE), and while I’ll still argue she’s got some work to do in the grammar and editing department, she’s written another winner. Exodia‘s got everything an avid post-apocalyptic reader wants—plus just a hint of Moses. It’s like buying a dark chocolate brownie, taking the first bite, and realizing someone’s added a bit of cinnamon to the recipe. DELICIOUS. I’m starting the second installment right . . . NOW.

 

GOLDEN LINE

Ok, well, it’s not so much a Golden Line as an example of why Ms. Chapoton needs some serious editing help, but friends, please. Don’t let it stop you from reading this book! 

“Jamie’s father would often show up unannounced and he’d demand a reenactment of her role as submissive, and abused, wife.”

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Would I recommend it: Yes. Read it.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
By 2093 American life is a strange mix of failing technologies, psychic predictions, and radiation induced abilities. Tattoos are mandatory to differentiate two classes, privileged and slave.

Dalton Battista fears that his fading tattoo is a deadly omen. He’s either the heir of the brutal tyrant of the new capital city, Exodia, or he’s its prophesied redeemer. Shy, handsome, smart and in possession of powers he doesn’t yet realize, he escapes an order for his execution by fleeing the city with the help of Lydia, who quickly captures his heart. But can he escape a destiny that will force him to marry another girl and return to Exodia as its liberator?

Based loosely on the ancient story of Moses, this two book dystopian journey (EXODIA and OUT OF EXODIA) crosses genres, combining young adult, new adult, sci-fi, magical realism, and speculative fiction for an adventure full of symbolism, hidden codes, and thematic imagery.

 

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Boost It Tuesday! – June 16, 2015

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

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Blog Tour: The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook (Chrissy’s review)

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The Healthy Family Slow Cooker CookbookThe Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook
written by Christina Dymock
published by Cedar Fort, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did. I’ve been looking for healthier, easier recipes to make for my family, and this cookbook is a great addition to my cookbook collection. I don’t use my slow cooker nearly enough, but this book sure changed that! I tried four recipes from this cookbook.

The first one was Tangy Pulled Pork. Healthy Crockpot

 

The pork came out juicy and tasty. It is a subtle flavor, but good. My house smelled fantastic while the pork was cooking. I used a pork loin instead of a pork roast. (I had the loin on hand.) Once it was ready to be shredded, I strained the juice and put the juice and shredded pork back in the crock pot on warm until we were ready to eat.

I tried two desserts: the Blueberry Pudding Cake and the Cookie Bars. My kids loved the Blueberry Pudding Cake. My husband and I loved the Cookie  Bars. I wasn’t a fan of the cake, but the rest of the family liked it. And I also tried the Steak Restaurant Mushrooms. These were so good. I loved them. My husband loved them. My kids don’t eat mushrooms. This is a definite make it again. I can’t wait to try the Chicken and Artichoke Fettucini. That’s next!

The recipes are all easy to make, and I had most of the ingredients on hand. That was nice. I also liked that the desserts called for sugar substitutes. (I’m learning to cook with those as opposed to regular sugar.) My only complaint is that there is no nutritional information included for the recipes. For me, that was a downer because I had to plug the recipes into a nutrition calculator to determine the carbs, proteins, and fats. Other than that, I have a feeling this cookbook will be used a lot.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, I would. There are some great recipes in this book.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Feed your family the foods they love—with a healthy twist.

Everyone knows slow cookers are a busy mom’s best friend, but it can be a struggle to find healthy Crock Pot recipes your kids will actually eat. Not anymore.

These delicious family-sized meals are perfect for parents and kids alike.

  • Chicken and Artichoke Fettucini
  • Teriyaki Pulled Pork
  • Cajun Rice with Shrimp
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Quesadillas

You’ll even find some tasty ideas for sugar-free desserts, like the Blueberry Pudding Cake. And every single recipe can be made in the morning and ready to eat by dinnertime. With a little prep and planning, you’ll soon be enjoying nutritious, healthy, home-cooked meals every night of the week!

 

 

About the author: Christina Dymock is a graduate of the University of Utah. She has had careers as an editor at an advertising agency, an adjunct instructor at Salt Lake Community College, and author.

An avid cook, Christina divides her time between the kitchen, her computer, and books and her family of six. (Naturally, the family gets the biggest share.) Because she reads everything, she also feels compelled to write in several genres. Her latest book, Blue Christmas, reached the Amazon top seller list in 7 categories as part of the Christmas anthology, Christmas in Snow Valley.

Christina attends multiple writer’s conferences each year, is a part of several critique groups, and enjoys learning about writing. She has been featured during the cooking segment of several local morning shows, published in Woman’s World Magazine and the Deseret News, quoted in Womans’ World Magazine and Parents’ Magazine, published in seven Chicken Soup books, and has published clean romantic fiction under the name Lucy McConnell.

 

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Book Club Recap: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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We had a large group; I think the summer just makes everyone want to get out. Not to mention school is ending so the crazy busy times are slowing down.

This week we talked about women who become obsessed and fall in love with serial killers. Do the women want to be involved with something bigger than them? Do they have an obsession? The young woman who wanted to marry Charles Mansion is one that sticks out in my mind. She was so young and how could she possibly have feelings for someone like him. Maybe we are all just missing something, but honestly, anyone that has the capacity to kill doesn’t seem like someone I would trust.

The topic of parenting came up. The novel in general didn’t seem to paint a good picture of parents. The only person we saw as the type of person who could parent was Diane.

This was definitely considered a dark book, but one we were all happy to have shared with one another. These are the types of books that stay with you and give you the feeling of being grateful for who you have in your life to support and love you.

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Dark PlacesDark Places
written by Gillian Flynn
published by Shaye Areheart Books, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Check out Gina’s 3.5-star review

About the book – from Goodreads: Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?

She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.

Who did massacre the Day family?

If you belong to a book group, please tell us about what you’re reading in the comments.

If you would like to join this feature, please feel free to do so by posting your own Book Club Recap and linking it in the comments. 

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Story Time with Sara: Are You Ticklish? by Melanie Mitchell

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Are You Ticklish?Are You Ticklish? 
illustrated by Melanie Mitchell
published by Piggie Toes Press, 2008

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
We love this fun little rhyming board book! This was one of the first baby books given to us by a dear friend, and we just pulled it back out of storage for our little guy (big brother outgrew it a while ago). The illustrations are vivid, fanciful, and certainly keep the attention of little eyes. My one-year-old loves to touch (and tickle) the sensory swatch for each animal. The lion has fur, the elephant is leathery, the crocodile has scales. This book has been well-loved for the better part of three years and is still holding up well enough to be of use for the second kid (that’s a huge boon in my book)! What’s more is that after three years of reading this book, it still makes me smile when we get to the end and I get to tickle my little animal and watch him giggle!

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Would I recommend it: I sure would! This is a great addition to baby’s first library!

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Chrissy’s Review: Four by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)

Four: A Divergent Collection
written by Veronica Roth
published by Harper Collins

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t great.

I wanted to read this collection of stories from the Divergent series because I like reading other character’s points of views. I was very interested in reading Four’s POV, and I wanted to learn more about him. I liked the stories. I learned a lot about Four and what was going on. However, he didn’t sound that much different than Tris. I wish he had his own voice. That was my main complaint.

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Would I recommend it: If you are a fan of the Divergent series, then you will want to read this one.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling DIVERGENT series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—THE TRANSFER, THE INITIATE, THE SON, and THE TRAITOR—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the DIVERGENT trilogy.

 

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The EFC Writer – Em Dashes and En Dashes

Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing.  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: Em Dashes and En Dashes

 
You know those dash thingies you’re tossing in your sentences all over the place?  Yeah. There’s actually a name for those. The big ones are called Em Dashes and the little ones are called En Dashes.

Use Em Dashes (the big ones) to add more explanation to your sentence or to denote sudden breaks in thought, structure, or dialogue.  Oh, and don’t put spaces on either side of them. Chrissy really hates that.

Like this:

  • My son was crying again—I told him he couldn’t have ice cream for breakfast.

OR

  • “But why can’t I have ice cream for—Oh look, a cat!”

 

Use En Dashes (the little ones, which are bigger than hyphens but smaller than em dashes) to hook numbers, dates, and words together.

Like this:

  • Reference pages 123 – 134
  • 1947 – 1983

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS: ——–

 
If your word processor doesn’t automatically convert your hyphens to the appropriately sized dash, here’s a quick guide to doing it manually:

http://www.dashhyphen.com/dash-keyboard/

 

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

 
Em Dash:
noun
~ a dash that is one em wide

En Dash:
noun
~ a dash that is one-half the length of an em dash

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

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Chrissy’s Review: Connectivity by Aven Ellis

ConnectivityConnectivity
written by Aven Ellis
published by Soul Mate Publishing, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. My only complaint is that I didn’t read it sooner. I should have read it the moment I got my hands on it. Silly, silly, me. Why didn’t I? But, I digress . . .

Seriously, Ms. Ellis can tell a fabulous story. Connectivity will draw you in and won’t let you go until the end. This is the book that started it all. Connectivity–the social media site–is mentioned in ALL of Ms. Ellis’s books. I love that. You’ll smile, squeal, laugh . . . I could go on. I loved watching MK and William grow and change over the course of this book.

Connectivity is one of those books that leaves you with a giddy smile at the end . . . a giddy smile that will appear whenever you think of MK and William.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, yes, yes. Read it. In fact, read all of Ms. Ellis’s books.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Overachiever Mary-Kate Grant (who is indeed named after an Olsen Twin) has followed every rule to the letter to pursue her dream of working in TV programming. Ripping a page from the “hard work pays off” playbook, she takes an assistant level job at a Chicago sports network to break into the industry.

MK has no time or desire for a relationship right now—she is totally focused on her career and being independent, unlike the other women in her family.

But MK’s plans are run through the shredder when she finds herself working for William Cumberland, a British media mogul who made his fortune with Connectivity, a social media site. William blows into Chicago just like the winds off Lake Michigan and purchases the group of networks MK works for—and makes her his personal assistant in the process.

Suddenly MK finds her career plans in jeopardy. William makes her question everything she has ever thought and has the uncanny ability to see right through her. And for the first time in her life, MK finds herself not only questioning what she wants for her career but for her personal life as well…

 

 

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